If scientists could create a pill that lets you live twice as long while remaining free of infirmities, would you take it?
I don’t know about living twice as long, but I would like to live to be over 100 - IF certain conditions are in place. Mental and physical health, family involvement, having a purpose, and being independent are high priorities.
I’m not specifically interested in additional years –but in the quality of those years - enjoying them with a sharp mind and healthy body. In other words, I WANT TO AGE WELL.
Some say 100 is the new 80, and 120 is the new 100. Does that mean 80 is the new 60? At age 83, I’m hoping so.
Do most people want to live to be 100? The Age and Aging website says
One-third of the community-dwelling oldest-old people wished to live to be 100.
Those desiring to live long lives had conditional yet positive or humorous attitudes and significant roles in life.
Those not wanting to live long were afraid of disability, being a burden to others, and having a meaningless life.
A recent study discussed the advantages and disadvantages of longevity. Overall, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages. Even though a longer life expectancy burdens society and the environment, the issues are fixable. The benefits the world gets from people living longer are irreplaceable and undeniable. Really?
So, there are pros and cons to becoming a centenarian - and choices to be made.
PROS AND CONS
If you consider the extended life benefits, the answer might seem like a “no-brainer.” People could spend more quality time with loved ones, watch future generations grow up, learn new languages, master new musical instruments, try different careers, or travel the world.
A longer life could give them a chance to recover from mistakes, lead them toward longer-term thinking, and reduce health care costs by delaying the onset of the diseases of aging.
But do they want to? Increasing life expectancy can increase illness because people live long enough to get more age-related diseases, disability, dementia, and dysfunction. The world seems to be in turmoil with climate change, and the world in turmoil.
Most people over the age of 80 live alone. Given the confines of the pandemic, the last few years have been a challenge. They are often isolated, have few people to talk to, can’t go out, and have no exciting plans. Stories of abuse and TV footage inside nursing homes paint a grim picture to all who watch or read about them.
Concerns about life longevity include the
enormous drain on natural resources
the prohibitive cost of care
unidentified potential risks
Living to be 100 is a personal decision that a person makes and then makes choices accordingly.
THE GOOD NEWS
Scientists studying nonagenarians and centenarians to determine what contributed to their long lives found that
long-living individuals have little in common regarding education, income, or profession. However, their similarities reflect their lifestyles—many were nonsmokers, not obese, and coped well with stress.
Research suggests genes account for 20 to 30% of longevity. That leaves 70 to 80% to lifestyle choices — which means how you live your life can have an enormous impact on how long you live. You can choose to live a longer, fuller, happier life and age gracefully.
However, if you want to live to be 100, you can’t wait until you’re 95 to begin making those choices - now is the time.
While there is no specific secret to longevity, people’s small decisions made throughout life can affect their long-term health. They have control - they have choices. For example, they can follow the Mediterranean diet or eat junk food, watch TV all day or include exercise, follow healthy lifestyle guidelines or let the chips fall where they may.
As a reminder, The Geisinger Health Center lists the following suggestions for long living:
Eat a healthy diet - Eating healthy more often than not is imperative.
Exercise regularly - Daily exercise may have the same benefits as bathing in the fountain of youth.
Manage stress - Stress plays a role in everyone’s life and can be beneficial in small doses. However, if stress is a part of your daily routine, it begins to take a toll.
Keep your mind active - Research suggests that memory loss can be improved with mental activity – learn a new hobby or language. The old saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it” applies.
Don’t smoke. Smoking causes significant heart and lung disease and accelerates aging, especially the skin.
Think positive. According to research in the American Journal of Epidemiology, older women who thought more optimistically about the future lived longer than those who did not. Other research shows that being optimistic is linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Take a nap or find some other way to relax daily. Studies have consistently shown that sleeping less than five hours a night can lead to serious health problems. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
Or think of it this way.
Most days, I say“yes” to living to be at least 100, and most days, I say “yes” to putting in the effort and making wiser choices.
My plan begins with continuing my current lifestyle:
eating a healthy diet
keeping my mind active
having a good night’s sleep
I am also making choices that support my purpose, focusing on the positives, keeping my affairs in order, and accepting inevitable changes - as best I can.
Stress management and positive thinking need additional work, however.
Because I want to stay in my home for as long as possible, the WebMD website was a helpful guide. Take a look!
A key if you want to be a centenarian+ - is planning. Now is the time to start if you haven’t already.
Janice, I agree that it is the quality of the remaining years and not the quantity of years. A few years ago I had my cardiovascular system checked and the Cardiologist told me that based on my results I could expect to live well into my 90’s unless something else got me. That news disturbed me. I never thought about a plan that looked that far into the future. I tried to think of others who reached that age. I couldn’t think of anyone that enjoyed the quality of those well into the 90’s years, but a few years later I became acquainted with John Kolb who reached 100 in 2022. John is healthy, independent, and happy. He really is the life of the party. He lives alone, still drives, and strives to be positive and to bring joy to others. So now I have my role model to strive to live well into my 90’s. I know that aging well is mostly up to me and that being positive , like John, will fuel my aging and make it more enjoyable
Below is a YouTube link that provides an example of John being positive and entertaining (I shared this with John recently so he won’t mind me sharing it here):
As long as the magical pill you mention in the intro to this story keeps me healthy, I would love to live until I'm 100. I guess my biggest worry would be loneliness. If my wife dies earlier and my sons live far from me, I don't think it would be much fun.
By the way, I recently wrote about a lady who seems to have very clear ideas about what she wants from life. https://giannisimone.substack.com/p/its-never-too-late?s=w